Ohio State's Most Painful Second-Round NCAA Losses

Bruce Hooley

All trips to the Sweet Sixteen aren't created equal.

Ohio State should know, since it's made 15 in the 33 NCAA Tournaments in which it has participated.

But, wait, the Buckeyes' post-season success is even better than those numbers suggest.

While OSU has earned every one of those advances, some required much greater effort than others.

Prior to 1951, the NCAA Tournament field consisted of only eight teams.

Ohio State was among those fortunate few five times, so it actually advanced beyond the Sweet Sixteen on a handful of occasions before it ever existed.

Once Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek began their storied careers in Columbus, the NCAA Tournament doubled in size and OSU made that 16 team field all three of their seasons.

The Buckeyes' Big Ten championships in 1968 and 1971 also earned them a first-round bye in the 25-team Tournament and thus the last two Sweet Sixteen appearances in school history that came automatically.

OSU has since made 10 more trips to the regional semifinals.

But Ohio State has also fallen one agonizing victory short of reaching the Tournament's second weekend nine times since the field's expansion to 64 teams and beyond in 1985.

That's the fertile field of frustration from which we select the most painful Buckeye losses of the second round:

5. No. 12 Missouri 83, No. 4 Ohio State 67 (2002)

They say the NCAA Tournament is all about matchups. In this case, there couldn't have been a worse one for OSU.

Mizzou faltered over the seasons' second half to fall from unbeaten and No. 2 in the rankings, but by March had it all back together.

That was evident when the Tigers hammered No. 5 Miami in the first round by 13 points and hit OSU with an 18-4 run in the first half to feed an eventual advance to a lead of 28 points.

Ohio State head coach Jim O'Brien could barely conceal his contempt for Missouri coach Quin Snyder, who he was convinced had -- shall we say -- tested the elasticity of recruiting rules to sign two players who came up big that day against the Buckeyes.

4. No. 7 Georgetown 70, No. 2 Ohio State 58 (2006)

A glance at the layup lines before this second-round game at the University of Dayton Arena would have convinced the most rudimentary basketball fan that the NCAA Selection Committee reversed the seeds for this match-up.

Georgetown's muscle, height and athleticism were visualizing intimidating enough.

Then the clock started running and the Hoyas started running away.

OSU and Big Ten player-of-the-year Terrance Dials had no answer inside for Georgetown's 7-2 Roy Hibbert or 6-9 Jeff Green.

They combined for 39 points and 22 rebounds.

After, OSU coach Thad Matta confided to reporters, "We didn't have the size to match up with them this year, but I've got a guy coming in that will take care of that problem next year."

Matta referred to 7-0 Greg Oden, who as a freshman came in and helped OSU not only reach the Final Four, but defeat Hibbert, Green and Georgetown in the national semifinals for the berth in the NCAA title game.

3. No. 1 UNLV 76, No. 9 OSU 65 (1990)

First-year coach Randy Ayers and the Buckeyes ran into one of the greatest NCAA championship teams of all time after surviving Providence in overtime in round one.

The Runnin' Rebels of UNLV would go on to destroy Duke by 30 points in the national championship game, but upon facing OSU in Salt Lake City were still fretting over their own first-round escape.

Unheralded Ball State took Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony and company down to the final seconds and outrebounded them by 15 in a 69-67 final.

Johnson seemingly made it his mission to collect every rebound against Ohio State. He had 18, to go with 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting, as the Rebels pulled away from a 39-37 halftime struggle to win comfortably.

OSU sophomore forwards Jim Jackson (5-of-15, 11 points) and Chris Jent (1-for-9, 0-for-6 on three-pointers) struggled the most on a day the Buckeyes made only one of 11 three-point tries.

2. No. 1 Georgetown 82, No. 9 Ohio State 79 (1987)

OSU head coach Gary Williams knew the Hoyas' system well from coaching against it at Boston College, so he had the Buckeyes well-prepared just two days after an opening-round upset of Kentucky.

Ohio State jumped to a 39-29 halftime lead and expanded that to 15 points before Georgetown's depth began taking over.

All five OSU starters scored in double figures, with Dennis Hopson leading the way with 20.

Ohio State could have survived Georgetown All-American Reggie Williams' 24 points, but the 24 off the bench from Charles Smith was too much to overcome in a tight affair all the way to the finish.

3. No. 6 Miami 75, No. 3 Ohio State 62 (2000)

Everything seemed to be falling into place nicely for the Buckeyes to make a second straight trip to the Final Four.

All the pre-tournament talk centered on a possible Sweet Sixteen matchup against top-seeded Cincinnati, which OSU had not played since the 1962 NCAA Championship game.

But the Bearcats, the top-rated team in the country, lost national player-of-the-year Kenyon Martin to a broken leg in the Conference USA Tournament.

Then, on a Saturday afternoon in Nashville, UC shockingly lost to seventh-seeded Tulsa and then-unknown coach Bill Self just before the Buckeyes took the floor.

With four starters back from their Final Four team of the previous season, another trip to the Sweet Sixteen seemed imminent.

But OSU struggled with Miami's length and could never gain separation after rallying from a 36-31 halftime defict.

Johnny Hemsley's consecutive three-pointers with just over six minutes left gave Miami a 56-51 edge. Two minutes later, OSU's Michael Redd gained his fourth and fifth fouls in a span of 90 seconds, forcing the Buckeyes to play without him over the last 4:17.

Despite eight of Scoonie Penn's 20 points over that stretch, OSU lost touch and fell victim to the first Sweet Sixteen berth in Miami's school history.

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